Photo Credit: Daily Knicks
Derrick Rose is a walking what-if. Now at age 28, Rose has been separated by time from his past glory. He was the youngest MVP the NBA has ever seen before. Born in Chicago, Rose had the expectations similar to those of LeBron James. The Chicago Bulls had been going through the worst years in franchise history. Michael Jordan’s move to the Washington Wizards (and soon after retiring permanently) marked the death of a dynasty. 6 championships in 8 years had finally met it’s match (time). The years to follow were miserably bad to say the least. All until a boy from Chicago, named Derrick Rose, changed their fortunes. The Bulls ended up with the number 1 overall pick in 2008, despite the odds being next to nothing. They selected Rose 1st overall, and his reign of greatness began shortly after.
2011 will always be remembered as the year where Dirk Nowitzki and his company in Dallas took down the Miami Heat. In that same year, however, was the year Derrick Rose made history. He became the youngest player in NBA history to win the Most Valuable Player award. He outplayed Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, and dozens of other NBA stars to do so. It seemed as though the Bulls would finally touch greatness once again. Then, as if in a split second, tragedy hit.
Late in a playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers in round 1, Derrick Rose fell hard on his ankle, tearing his ACL. The Bulls’ playoff run would not last much longer. Multiple other injuries that would follow ruined his prime years, and take out his most valuable tool: his deadly athleticism comparable to that of Allen Iverson.
Last season was the 1st time since Rose’s MVP season where he was healthy all season. However, you could tell the years of injuries he went through had destroyed his athleticism and aggressiveness. Despite Chicago building a team, featuring Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol, around him during his absence, Rose’s declination lead the Bulls to a subpar record and ultimately missed the playoffs. They were never considered championship contenders last year, but many thought they would at least win the required games to make the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for Bulls and NBA fans alike, one of the most promising players the league has ever seen became a tragic question mark. He was dealt to the New York Knicks over the offseason, and is now featured on a team where every player seems to have their prime in different generations. Kristaps Porzingis is expected to break out in stardom, but a couple of years from now. By then stars Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah.
On this new team, Derrick Rose has a chance to become an All-Star once again. To begin, he is in a much better situation as far as his role goes. If Rose can continue to turn up his intensity and play better, Frank Jackson will realize his improvement. Since Jackson hopes to improve the triangle offense on the team, Rose could easily become a big part of the offense.
But Derrick Rose won’t accomplish that unless he improves. The good news is he will. Like I have already stated, Rose’s 1st completely healthy season since his MVP season was last year. He scored around 16 points per game. That’s not bad. In fact it’s right where he needs to be. Plain and simple, players who have been on and off the court with injuries for multiple years will be slightly more tentative their first games back. Take, for example, Paul George. After suffering one of the worst injuries in Olympic history, George did not look as good the year after (last year). This season, he’s a legitimate pick for MVP. If Derrick Rose can gradually turn up the intensity without re-injuring himself, there’s no reason why he can’t get back to a really good level.
Many would now say Rose was built off his insane athleticism, and now he has lost it and he can’t earn it back. While I agree, I also know Rose isn’t a terrible shooter himself. Given is hard work mentality, I guarantee the injuries have led him to realize the one path he can go through to reach greatness once again. He has likely worked on his shot and could potentially reach sharpshooter eventually. Remember, Rose is only 28 years old. It’s not like his entire prime has been wasted. He can still become great for a couple of years before degrading in talent once again.
Fun fact: there is a type of rose that can regrow after it dies when it is placed in a new environment. Derrick Rose can do the exact same as his last name ironically can do. Don’t forget the former superstar who is 28 and can once again reach the greatness he once had.